Report from Theunis Piersma, Luannan, Hebei, China, 5 May 2017
As the strong southerly wind turned to a veritable storm from the northwest, blowing over tripods and dusting the air, the delegation in company of the New Zealand Ambassador to China, Mr John McKinnon, arrived on the Luannan seawall. At a neap tide, some of the Red and Great Knots gracefully remained on the mudflats in front of the seawall to be watched by the Ambassador and representatives of the national, provincial and local governments.
John McKinnon was accompanied by our close colleague and GFN associate Adrian Riegen of the Pukorokoro-Miranda Naturalists Trust in New Zealand, and by Chen Kelin of Wetlands International. In the presence of Mr Chen Fengxue, President of China Wildlife Conservation Association and former Vice Administrator of State Forestry Administration and Mr Wang Shaojun, Deputy Director General, Department of Forestry, Hebei Province, Theunis Piersma presented Mr McKinnon a copy of Marathon Migrants. Marathon Migrants is the photo-story of the global connections put into existence by our shared shorebirds, with a foreword by Mrs Maggie Barry, the Minister of Conservation of New Zealand. It was a special moment to show the Ambassador the page with a hopeful final episode on the future of the Luannan foreshore illustrated with a photo made by Jan van de Kam at the same location more than 10 years ago.
Despite the fierce wind, it was a great opportunity to share some time with such a distinguished and politically powerful crowd showing so much interest in the shorebirds on the mudflats. We hope this bodes well for the future of the Luannan intertidal foreshore, the muds which are so crucially important as a critical refuelling area for the red knots connecting New Zealand and Australia with far northern Russia, and for many other shorebirds.
Further reading in Chinese:
- The New Zealand Embassy’s official wetchat account about the field trip written by the Ambassador, which can be found here.
- The press release on the website of the Forestry Department of Hebei Province, which can be found here.
(Photos by Adrian Boyle and Theunis Piersma)